Pakistan’s Qazi is UN’s new Iraq envoy

But is it part of a deal?

The Daily Times certainly thinks so. Ashraf Jehangir Qazi’s appointment as the head of the UN mission in Iraq could be the necessary cover that Musharraf requires to send Pakistani troops to Iraq.

In June last year, even as General Pervez Musharraf emerged from his meeting with US president George Bush at Camp David, he told the press that Pakistan was prepared ‘in principle’ to send troops to Iraq if some ‘conditions’ could be met. Since then the issue has been occasionally revisited. Each time it appears that Pakistan is close to making a ‘favourable’ decision on it. It seems that it is in keeping with Islamabad’s tone that the US and Pakistan might have reached some kind of understanding on it. [Daily Times]

The US had ratcheted up the pressure on Musharraf over the last couple of weeks – the objective of that exercise could well have been to force Musharraf to send troops to Iraq. Seen in this context, Qazi’s appointment does indicate that the tipping point has been reached.

(Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman) said Pakistan and the US would discuss bilateral relations, regional and international issues including Iraq during the forthcoming visit of the American deputy secretary of state.

The spokesman said Pakistan would send troops to Iraq only if it deemed it appropriate. [Daily Times]